Crime & corruption behind Tanzania’s elephant meltdown

Chinese criminal syndicates & corruption behind Tanzania’s elephant meltdown

 

LONDON: A new report reveals that Chinese-led criminal gangs are conspiring with corrupt Tanzanian officials to traffic huge amounts of ivory, a trade which has caused half of Tanzania’s elephants to be poached in the past five years – even diplomatic visits by high-level Chinese Government delegations have been used to smuggle ivory.

In the major new report Vanishing Point – Criminality, Corruption and the Devastation of Tanzania’s Elephants, released on the eve of a major regional wildlife crime summit in Tanzania, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) details how the country’s elephants are being slaughtered in vast numbers to feed a resurgent ivory trade in China.

In December 2013, an official visit by a Chinese naval task force to Tanzania’s capital city port of Dar es Salaam spurred a major surge in business for ivory traders, with one dealer boasting of making US$50,000 from sales to naval personnel. In addition, a Chinese national was caught trying to enter the port with 81 illegal tusks intended for two mid-ranking Chinese naval officers.

Earlier that year, in March, the visit of a large official delegation accompanying Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tanzania created a boom in illegal ivory sales and caused local prices to double.

Tanzania is the largest source of poached ivory in the world and China the largest importer of smuggled tusks. Tanzania’s world famous Selous Reserve has seen its elephant population plunge by 67 per cent in just four years, from 38,975 animals to 13,084. Based on available evidence, Tanzania has lost more elephants to poaching during this period than any other country – 10,000 in 2013 alone, equivalent to 30 a day.

Vanishing Point further reveals how some politicians from Tanzania’s ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) party and well-connected businesspeople use their influence to protect ivory traffickers. In 2013, former Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Khamis Kagasheki named four CCM MPs as involved in elephant poaching and stated: “This business involves rich people and politicians who have formed a very sophisticated network.”

A year earlier, a secret list of the main culprits behind the crisis was handed to Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete by intelligence sources, containing the names of prominent politicians and businesspeople regarded as untouchable due to links to the CCM; most people on the list have not been investigated further or arrested.

As far back as 2006, EIA investigators were told by Mwenge suppliers that some Chinese Embassy staff were major buyers of their ivory. An official of Tanzania’s wildlife department even offered to sell the investigators tusks from the Government’s ivory storeroom and to put them in touch with a dealer who could provide ivory from the Selous Reserve.

EIA Executive Director Mary Rice said: “This report shows clearly that without a zero tolerance approach, the future of Tanzania’s elephants and its tourism industry are extremely precarious.

“The ivory trade must be disrupted at all levels of criminality, the entire prosecution chain needs to be systemically restructured, corruption rooted out and all stakeholders, including communities exploited by the criminal syndicates and those on the front lines of enforcement, given unequivocal support.

“All trade in ivory, including all domestic sales, must be resolutely banned in China which has failed to comply with CITES ivory controls.”

 

 

EDITORS’ NOTES

  1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a London UK- and Washington DC, US, -based Non-Governmental Organisation that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.
  1. Read and download Vanishing Point – Criminality, Corruption and the Devastation of Tanzania’s Elephants at https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Vanishing-Point-lo-res1.pdf and in Swahili at https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Vanishing-Point-Swahili-lo-res.pdf
  1. Information on the Government of Tanzania’s Regional Summit to Stop Wildlife Crime and Advance Wildlife Conservation on November 7-8, 2014 at http://www.mnrt.go.tz/highlights/view/regional-summit-to-stop-wildlife-crime-and-advance-wildlife-conservation

 

Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
UK
www.eia-international.org
Tel: +44 207 354 7960
ends

 

MAGENGE YA UHALIFU KUTOKA UCHINA NA UFISADI UNAANGAMIZA NDOVU WA TANZANIA

LONDON: Ripoti mpya iliyotolewa inaonyesha kwamba magenge yanayoongozwa na Wachina yanashirikiana na maafisa fisadi kutoka Tanzania kusafirisha kiasi kikubwa cha pembe haramu za ndovu, biashara ambayo imeangamiza nusu ya ndovu wa Tanzania katika kipindi cha miaka mitano iliyopita – hata ziara za kidiplomasia za maafisa wakuu wa Serikali ya Uchina zimetumiwa kama nafasi ya kusafirisha pembe haramu za ndovu.

Katika ripoti mpya ya kina maarufu Kiwango cha Kuangamia – Uhalifu, Ufisadi na Kuangamizwa kwa Ndovu wa Tanzania, iyotolewa siku chache kabla ya mkutano mkubwa wa wanayamapori wa kanda nchini Tanzania kufanyika, Shirika la Upelelezi wa Mazingira (EIA) limeainisha kwa kina jinsi ndovu wanauawa kwa wingi ili kutosheleza biashara ya pembe za ndovu iliyochipuka nchini Uchina.

Desemba 2013, ziara rasmi ya kikosi cha wanamaji kilichozuru jiji la mwambao la Dar es Salaam nchini Tanzania ilisababisha ongezeka la mauzo kwa wafanyabiashawa wa pembe za ndovu, huku muuzaji mmoja akijitanua kwa kupata Dola 50,000 kwa kuwauzia mafisa wa jeshi la wanamaji pembe za ndovu. Aidha, raia wa Uchina alitiwa mbaroni akijaribu kuingia bandarini akiwa na pembe 81 za ndovu zilizokuwa zilikipelekewa maafisa wa cheo cha kati wa jeshi la wanamaji la Uchina.

Mapema mwaka huo, mwezi Machi, ziara kubwa rasmi ya Tanzania ya ujumbe ulioandamana na Rais wa Uchina Xi Jinping iliongeza mauzo ya pembe za ndovu mara dufu na kusababisha bei za bidhaa hii kuongezeka mara mbili.

Tanzania ndio chanzo kikubwa cha pembe haramu za ndovu duniani na Uchina ndio mwagizaji mkubwa wa pembe hizo. Hifadhi ya Selous nchini Tanzania, iliyo maarufu duniani, inakabiliwa na janga la kupungua kwa idadi kubwa ya ndovu wake kwa asilimia 67 katika miaka minne tu, kutoka ndovu 38,975 hadi 13,084. Kwa mujibu wa ushahidi uliopo, Tanzania imepoteza ndovu zaidi kwa sababu ya ujangili katika kipindi hiki kuliko nchi nyingine yoyote – ndovu 10,000 katika mwaka 2013 peke yake, sawa na ndovu 30 kila siku.

Aidha ripoti hii Kiwango cha Kuangamia inaonyesha namna baadhi ya wanasiasa kutoka chama tawala cha CCM na wafanyabishara maarufu wanavyotumia ushawishi wao wa kuwalinda wafanyabiashara wa pembe za ndovu. Mwaka 2013, aliyekuwa Waziri wa Maliasili na Utalii Mhe. Khamis Kagasheki aliwataja wabunge wanne wa CCM kwa kushiriki katika ujangili wa tembo na alisema: “Biashara hii inahusisha mabwenyenye na wanasiasa ambao wamebuni mtandao mkubwa”.

Mwaka uliotangulia, orodha ya siri iliyotaja washukiwa waliochangia ongezeko la ujangili wa kuwinda meno ya ndovu ilipatiwa Rais Jakaya Kikwete kutoka kwa vyanzo vya ujasusi. Orodha hiyo ilikuwa na majina ya vigogo serikalini na wafanyabishara ambao kutokana na ushawishi wao katika chama tawala cha CCM, wanachukuliwa kuwa hawawezi kushtakiwa. Wengi waliotajwa katika orodha hiyo hawajachunguzwa zaidi wala kukamatwa.

Mwaka 2006, wapelelezi wa EIA waliambiwa na wauzaji wa Mwenge kwamba baadhi ya maafisa katika Ubalozi wa Uchina walikuwa wanunuzi wakubwa wa pembe za ndovu. Afisa mmoja wa Idara ya Wanamapori ya Tanzania alitaka kuwauzia wachunguzi pembe za ndovu kutoka kwa akiba ya Serikali kuwasaidia kuwasiliana na muuzaji ambaye angewaletea pembe za ndovu kutoka Hifadhi ya Selous.

Mkurugenzi Mtendaji wa EIA Mary Rice alisema: “Ripoti hii inaonyesha kinaganaga kwamba bila hatua mwafaka kuchukuliwa kumaliza kabisa janga hili, mustakabali wa ndovu wa Tanzania na sekta ya utalii iko hatarini.

“Biashara ya pembe za ndovu lazima ikomeshwe katika ngazi zote za uhalifu, kuna haja ya kurekebisha mfumo wote wa mahakama, kumaliza ufisadi na wadau wote, ikiwa ni pamoja na jamii zinazonyonywa na na magenge ya ujangili na walio katika msitari wa mbele wa utkelezaji kuwezeshwa na kupewa usaidizi wa kutosha.

“Biashara yote ya pembe za ndovu, ikiwa ni pamoja na mauzo yote ya ndani, lazima ipigwe marufuku kali nchini Uchina ambayo imeshindwa kuzingatia vidhibiti vya pembe za ndovu vya CITES.”

 

 

MAELEZO YA WAHARIRI

  1. Shirika la Upelelezi wa Mazingira (EIA) ni Shirika Lisilo la Serikali lenya makao yake jijini London Uingereza- na Washington DC, Marekani, linalopeleleza na kuendesha kampeni dhidi ya uhalifu mbalimbali wa mazingira, ikiwa ni pamoja na biashara haramu ya wanyamapori, uvunaji haramu wa miti, taka yenye madhara, na biashara ya kemikali zinazoathiri hali ya hewa na ukanda wa ozoni.
  1. Soma na upakue Kiwango cha Kuangamia – Uhalifu, Ufisadi na Kuangamizwa kwa Ndovu wa Tanzania katika https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Vanishing-Point-lo-res.pdf & Swahili at https://eia-international.org/wp-content/uploads/EIA-Vanishing-Point-Swahili-lo-res.pdf
  1. Taarifa kuhusu Mkutano wa Kanda wa Serikali ya Tanzania wa Kumaliza Uhalifu wa Wanyamapori na Kuendeleza Uhifadhi wa Wanyamapori tarehe 7-8 Novemba, 2014 katika http://www.mnrt.go.tz/highlights/view/regional-summit-to-stop-wildlife-crime-and-advance-wildlife-conservation

 

Environmental Investigation Agency
62-63 Upper Street
London N1 0NY
Uingereza
www.eia-international.org
Simu: +44 207 354 7960

mwisho